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Receiving the Comforter and Doctrine and Covenants 88: Newel K. Whitney Store

Immediate historical context is given to the revelation published as Doctrine and Covenants 88 regarding the Lord sending the Comforter upon his servants. This revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, in the translating room of the Whitney Store. Receipt of the revelation spanned three days, December 27-28, 1832, and January 3, 1833.

Video Transcript

John P. Livingstone: This upper southeast room in the Newel K. Whitney store was the parlor, almost like a modern living room, for the prophet Joseph Smith and his family. It really served as headquarters of the Church, and it kind of represents the very first church office building in this dispensation. In this room, Joseph Smith met with others. They would not only have meetings here, he would [also] receive revelations here; not only revelations, but he and Sidney Rigdon worked on the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.1

Craig J. Ostler: One of those revelations was received on December 27, 1832 (two days after Christmas) [and] is instructive to learn of what took place in the room as a group of high priests had gathered together with the Prophet Joseph Smith. He recorded that Joseph instructed them that in order to receive revelation and blessing of heaven, it was necessary to have their minds on God, exercise faith, and be of one heart and one mind. The Prophet recommended to all present that they pray separately and vocally, that they might have that unity of heart and mind.2 Now, as I picture that, I think we surmise a little bit, as we look here at the tables and chairs, that they were probably sitting together. Because of my experience (prayer with my own family), I imagine them, pulling each of them a chair up, kneeling down at their chair, and then each praying vocally and separately, aloud. It may seem a little odd to our approach to prayer today to have so many people praying all at once, but I have been in sacred occasions where many people are praying together. One of them was the western wall in Jerusalem, where many were praying aloud, but it was more of a soft, humble, and sacred muffle sound, as you knew they were sending their hearts’ desires to heaven, and it was a sacred experience. I trust that it wasn’t chaos in this room at that time: it wasn’t a Pentecostal fervor. It was a humble seeking that they might be worthy to receive revelation from God. In response to those prayers, in response to having their minds on God and exercising faith, the Lord gave the revelation now recorded in section eighty-eight of the doctrine and covenants, in which He addressed those present this way:

“Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you who have assembled yourselves together to receive his will concerning you: Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world. Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John. This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn…” (D&C 88:1-5).

This room has been witness to sacred events. I imagine at that time, again, the feeling of the Spirit must have filled this room as the Lord indicated “I now send upon you another comforter,” and the comfort of the Holy Ghost then came into their hearts.


1 Keith W. Perkins, “Ohio,” Sacred Places: Ohio and Illinois, ed. LaMar Berrett, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2002), 14.
2 Kirtland Council Minute Book, Typescript, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 3-4.